To be honest, despite being the sixth-largest city in Spain, I had never heard of Málaga before this trip. This made me mildly embarrassed, but far more intrigued to spend some time in the coastal city, one that is gaining the reputation of “The New Barcelona”.
Here are five reasons why every traveller should put Málaga on their ‘Must-See’ List:
Málaga experiences approximately 300 days of sunshine throughout the year. The winters are mild, and the summers hot, but the coastal winds blowing from the Mediterranean Sea make the summer months more bearable than other parts of Spain. The average annual temperature for the city is 23 °C during the day (one of the highest in Europe), making it extremely comfortable year round. The weather alone should be enough to pique your interest.
The castle dates back to the 10th century but was added to in the 14th century by Yusif I, the Sultan of Granada. It is easily one of the most visited sites in Málaga and is famous for the seige led by Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabelle, that ended when hunger finally forced the Malagueños to surrender. The Castle is connected to the Alcazaba, which is the lower fortress and royal residence, and for 3.55€ visitors can have access to both attractions. Or, for an even better deal, one can visit after 2pm on Sunday when admission is free and take in the stunning views of the city.
Málaga’s port is one of the oldest ports in the world, and one of Spain’s most important cruise ship terminals, bringing thousands of tourists to the city each year. The port just underwent a massive revitalization that included a city-port plan which has resulted in a beautiful boardwalk with numerous shops and restaurants. Pier One (Muelle Uno) is the shopping and commerce section, that is home to Malaga’s only Michelin-starred restaurant (JCG). There is truly something for everybody and visitors will relish in the modern design and pristine condition of the pier.
There are fifteen beaches within Málaga city limits and although none would make the “Best Beaches in Europe” list, they aren’t without their charm. I personally enjoy Playa de la Malagueta, due to it’s location – lined with bars, restaurants, shops and is a quick walk from the city centre. For more information on Málaga beaches check out John Kramer’s article: Malaga City Beach Guide.
Famous artist Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Málaga and the city remodelled the former Palacio de Buenavista to house a museum dedicated to his life. The Museum sits just 200m away from his actual birthplace and houses 285 of his works. If you are an art or architecture buff (renowned architect Richard Gluckman headed the remodel), you are sure to enjoy an afternoon at the Museum. Admission is 8€ for an adult, or one can visit during the last two opening hours on Sunday, when admission is free.
I also suggest, as I usually do, to take a “free” walking tour of the city. It is a great way to acclimate yourself to the city and receive a free history lesson. We found a local company called Explora Malaga, our guide was Javier and he was excellent.
I could go on about the tapas, the sweet wine, the sardines on the beach, etc. but you’ll just have to come and check out Málaga for yourself!
Have you ever been to Málaga? What was one of your “Must-See’s”?